A new biography of Saadat Hasan Manto

Book review: The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide

Author: Ayesha Jalal

Publisher: Harper Collins India

Pages: 265

‘Toba Tek Singh’ was, is and will continue to remain one of the most revered famous short stories written by the celebrated Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Remembered for the incomprehensible babble of the Sikh asylum inmate, Bishen Singh, who cursed both India and Pakistan in the same breath, the story questions the twisted dogmas of both nations even today. Ironically, Manto shared a reciprocal turmoil with his protagonist – both coped with an incurable void after being displaced from a nation they called home, and both died searching for an identity “on a bit of earth, which had no name.”*

Originally published in The Times of India.


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